National / Science & Health

Japanese researchers win second prize in global competition for unmanned ocean exploration


A team of Japanese researchers said Wednesday that it has won second place in a global competition for unmanned ocean floor exploration.

“We were able to show the excellence of Japanese ocean research technology,” Takeshi Nakanishi of the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) said at a meeting in Tokyo.

Team Kuroshio includes officials from JAMSTEC, the University of Tokyo, the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Mitsui E&S Holdings Co., Yamaha Motor Co. and others.

In the final round, held last November and December, the Japanese team took on eight European and U.S. contenders in the Mediterranean Sea off the coast of Greece.

They competed on accurately mapping at least 250 square kilometers (96.5 square miles) of the sea floor.

Team Kuroshio plans to use its prize of $1 million for further research activity.

A U.S.-based international team won first place, with core members trained under a program financed by the Nippon Foundation.